Once the dump truck reversed back far enough, it released its load and created a mountain of mulch at the entrance of the Sands Playground in the West End.
On Monday afternoon, dozens of FC Cincinnati employees, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful volunteers and local children worked together to clean the playground. Beds of mulch were weeded and mulched again, while trees were trimmed and the playground had new wooden chips spread below.
“We’re here today in the West End to clean up and support the West End community with FC Cincinnati fans,” said Megan Beck, the Volunteer Programs Director of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful.
By transforming the playground, Beck said the goal of the afternoon was to create a safer and more enjoyable environment for kids to play. The playground should be a sense of pride for the neighborhood, she added.
Monday was the first day in MLS WORKS Greener Goals Week of Service. Now that FC Cincinnati are in the league, they will participate annually in different charitable acts during Earth Week. Cleaning the playground was the first project this week, which will conclude with the Orange and Blue hosting Real Salt Lake on Friday night at Nippert Stadium wearing special adidas x Parley uniforms.
“It’s fun. A few guys get to get out and contribute to the community and fix up a playground for some kids and future kids,” goalkeeper Spencer Richey said. “It’s stuff people did before us when we were young kids. It’s fun to give back.”
Richey was also joined by Hassan Ndam and Cincinnati native Nick Hagglund. All three have participated with MLS WORKS previously during their time playing for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC, respectively.
With FC Cincinnati working with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful on Monday, the club partnered with a local non-profit that’s helped clean the city for 40 years and make it a nicer, safer place to live and visit. The organization works in all 52 neighborhoods in the Queen City.
“Our primary goal is to preserve neighborhoods and improve the local environment by engaging and supporting communities,” Keep Cincinnati Beautiful’s website states. The site also mentioned a reduction in life crimes, blight and increased economic development in areas surrounding the non-profit’s efforts.
Richey said being able to give back to the community is special and important thing as an individual and for FC Cincinnati as a club.
“When we were younger, you saw other athletes and role models in the community were able to give up their free time and help out kids,” he said. “Hopefully (they can) play soccer on these playgrounds and hopefully other sports and be active and enjoy themselves. It’s fun for us to be out here.”